Saturday, 31 July 2021

Day 502 of self-isolation - Home again

Home again

Exhausted from our three-day break, we're home again.

At no time did I wear a mask, because either I was with family, or else we were eating. But the restaurant staff all wore masks, which was good.

I got so tired after I got home that I lay down for a nap, only to be woken by the Waitrose delivery.



Friday, 30 July 2021

Day 501 of self-isolation - How do I do that?

How do I do that?

You might be wondering how I'm posting blog updates while I'm far from home. Wonder no more, I'll tell you.

I brought with me my  Thinkpad, with 4gb memory and a 1920 by 1200 screen. For me, the screen size is the most important thing about a laptop because I'm used to working with several open windows. After that, the keyboard - I use a separate keyboard with the laptop, because it has the right layout, and laptops never do. And a Microsoft Intellimouse (the best product Microsoft ever made), which works on any surface. I could use the in-built touchpad or the little orange button, but I'd rather not. The mouse and keyboard live in the same bag that the computer lives in (thank you, Sophos).

The place we're staying provides free wifi, and although it's not fast, it's fast enough, and after some initial reluctance, it let me in without big problems. Unlike Disney, where they are VERY fussy about where you access, and I had to get round their blockers by making my own hosts file. and pretending that I was accessing a site called "", which my hosts file translated to the IP adress that I needed. It isn't illegal to make changes you your own computer!

They have a clever way to give access to the cottage. The welcoming email gives you a four digit code, and that opens a little keysafe near the front door, that contains the key to the front door. One slight security problem - I wonder if they change the combination for each occupier? I suspect not. 

Meanwhile, ladysolly is also using the wifi to set up our next Waitrose order. How did we manage before wifi?

Actually, I know how. Back in the 20th century, I used a Nokia 6310i with bluetooth and a socket for an antenna. I had a three foot long Yagi antenna, which gave me very long range for the phone, and I connected a computer to the bluetooth. I used that while we were on cruises, even when we were far from land. The bandwidth was very low, but if all you're doing is ssh or telnet and accessing a web site that doesn't have graphics, it was fine.

Today, if I need access and there isn't wifi, I can set my iPhone up to be a hotspot, so as long as I have telephony signal, I have internet access. One potential problem - there's nowhere to attach an antenna. Those Nokia 6310i phones were really great and greatly under-rated now. For example, a charged 6310i lasts ten times as long as an iPhone.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Day 500 of self-isolation - Free at last!

Free at last!

In celebration of day 500, and because we needed food while at the Wild Rabbit , ladysolly bravely went to a local farm shop and mingled with the locals. She is, of course, double vaxxed, and wearing a mask, but it was hard to shake off the feeling that this was a bit brave.

Almost everything was unwrapped. There's no way of knowing how many people have fondled the bread etc,

I bravely waited in the car outside.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Day 499 of self-isolation - To the Chilterns

To the Chilterns

Today, we go for a short break to the Chilterns. With two daughters, one son-in-law and three grandsons. This will be fun - but probably exhausting. I'll be missing a few blog entries, in particular the 500th.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Day 498 of self-isolation - Ups and downs

Ups and downs

In the UK, the new case numbers seem to be falling; from 50000 to 25000 in the last ten days. Hurrah!

But in the USA new case numbers are rising; from 15000 to 70000 in the last ten days. Sad.

So what's the difference? I don't know. I've heard it said that it's vaccination rates, but I don't think that the rates in the US and UK are that different; a bit more in the UK.

Of course, these figures don't reflect the situation since the opening up of July 19th, so maybe things might get worse. But let's hope that the downturn continues.

Monday, 26 July 2021

Day 497 of self-isolation - Fourteen stone, nine pounds

Fourteen stone, nine pounds

The diet continues; the next target is 14-4, which is 200 pounds. As an incentive, I get to drink a bottle of beer each time I lose a pound.

The origin of this was 16 months ago, when I was 17-9, and I had a tooth extraction, just before the first lockdown. Because of the extraction (which wasn't as bad as I'd feared), I was very disinclined to eat for the next couple of days (meaning, I didn't eat), followed by some days on soup. As a result, I lost quite a few pounds.

Added to that, I had the incentive of Covid, which hits old obese males harder than the average. Well, I'm as old as I feel, and I'm not going to change gender, but I can do something abut the excess weight. And I have.


Sunday, 25 July 2021

Day 496 of self-isolation - E-scooters


A man died after falling from his e-scooter recently. This is strange for the following reasons.

1. It's illegal to ride an e-scooter on the road or the pavement.

2. No other vehicle was involved, Why did he die?

 I've never ridden an e-scooter, but I've had several years on an e-bike. I've fallen off several times, mostly on bridleways and suchlike, once on a tarmac road. Once, my legs were paralysed for several hours, once I went head-over-handlebars. A couple of times, I couldn't fully rotate my shoulder for many weeks.

Falling off hurts. Even if you land on grass. But it's never been life-threatening. You fall just as far off a bike as when you fall off a scooter. So, I don't understand it.

E-scooters don't even go really fast (unless you've made some sort of turbo scooter). They shouldn't really be more dangerous than an e-bike.

I think we need legislation, just as we have legislation for e-bikes. There needs to be a limit on the top speed (I'd suggest the same as for an e-bike), and there needs to be a requirement for lights at night, and for good brakes, front and rear. And helmets. Last time I came off my bike (and broke three ribs), the first thing the ambulance men checked, was my head and helmet. Then my spine. So yes, I always wear a helmet and gloves.

Some e-scooters are like a bike, but without pedals. Some also lack a saddle, so you stand to ride. If I removed the pedals from my e-bike, would that make it into an illegal e-scooter? Because I don't see how it would make it less safe to ride.